Education

Peoria Unified looks to opening dates for in-person instruction

Posted 9/11/20

Peoria Unified School District is in the process of staffing instructors for the opening of schools for full in-person instruction, Sept. 21 for K-2 and Sept. 28 for grades 3-12.

To Our Valued Readers –

Visitors to our website will be limited to five stories per month unless they opt to subscribe.

For $5.99, less than 20 cents a day, subscribers will receive unlimited access to the website, including access to our Daily Independent e-edition, which features Arizona-specific journalism and items you can’t find in our community print products, such as weather reports, comics, crossword puzzles, advice columns and so much more six days a week.

Our commitment to balanced, fair reporting and local coverage provides insight and perspective not found anywhere else.

Your financial commitment will help to preserve the kind of honest journalism produced by our reporters and editors. We trust you agree that independent journalism is an essential component of our democracy. Please click here to subscribe.

Sincerely,
Charlene Bisson, Publisher, Independent Newsmedia

Please log in to continue

Log in
I am anchor
Education

Peoria Unified looks to opening dates for in-person instruction

Posted

Peoria Unified School District is in the process of staffing teachers for the opening of schools for full in-person instruction, Sept. 21 for K-2 and Sept. 28 for grades 3-12.

Chief Academic Support Officer Kendra Bell said the deadline for families to choose virtual or in-person instruction for the rest of the semester is Sept. 11.

“We are collecting this data so that we can appropriately make the changes parents have requested and can staff accordingly,” Bell said.

The most recent health data indicates the district can skip a hybrid model and move directly to full-time in-person instruction, according to the district’s return to school plan.

Maricopa County recommends the following benchmarks be met prior to offering any in-person learning:

  • There must be a two-week decline in the number of cases or two weeks with new case rates below 100 per 100,000;
  • Two weeks with less than 7% positivity;
  • Two weeks with hospital visits due to COVID-like illness below 10%.

Director of Research Mike Maas said all three categories have decreased over  the past ix weeks.

Cases per 100,000 in Peoria Unified geographical boundaries have declined from 142 to 22. Hospital visits due to COVID-like illness have declined from 7% to 2%. And the percentage of positive tests have gone down from 12.1% to 4.2%.

Mr. Maas said the decreases have allowed the district to skip a hybrid model and move directly to full in-person instruction, according to the district’s return to school plan.

He said Arizona has done well in flattening the curve and PUSD reflects those numbers.

However, moving forward, there could be volatility in the category of positive tests, he said.

“If you don’t get as many tests then each test becomes more valuable,” he said. “The reduction of testing will impact that number so I could see it fluctuating.”

The district will host open houses as well as meet and greets prior to students’ first day of school but dates have not yet been scheduled. The district also is preparing a parent survey for feedback on the return to school plan, which will be sent out soon.

Ms. Bell said if a student continues in the virtual setting, K-8 children for the most part will continue to have live lessons with online teachers, who do not have in-person students.

However she said high school will look a little different with teachers who will have in-person students and some fully online students, who will be able to connect with their teacher via office hours and other options.

“Students who will remain virtual this semester will transition to a more asynchronous platform, which means a little more independent,” Ms. Bell said. “So we are working to determine what are some of those tricks our teachers can use if, in fact, they are teaching within the classroom and have a handful of those kids who are participating virtually. That blended model will be of value to us.”

Although students will return to in-person instruction, school will not look like it has in the past.

Shawn Duguid, chief operations, safety and risk management officer, said teachers have been undergoing professional development and receiving online resources to prepare for the return, and will be asked to disinfect their classroom throughout the day. He said custodial staff will thoroughly disinfect each evening.

Water fountains will be replaced by water bottle filling stations, where students must use their own bottle, and school officials will be tweaking arrival and dismissal procedures.

“We are still under a countywide mandate to wear masks, and our site-level administrators are working on creative ways to give students mask breaks throughout the day,” he said.

Comments